Boston, Sept 01,2009 (SomalilandPress)-Hello to my dear readers from the US. I have safely arrived back in Boston and I would feel incomplete if I did not publish a final article of “A Trip to the Unknown” for SomalilandPress.

I suppose the trip home is most fresh in my mind, so let me start with that. In my first article, I explained that I planned to fly to Hargeisa with Air Ethiopia as I had heard negative rumors about flying to Hargeisa with Daallo. Well, Air Ethiopia has been unofficially renamed “Air Inshallah”, and it seems that Daallo is in fact a much more reliable alternative for traveling to Hargeisa. Should I have the chance to return to Somaliland in the future I will most likely look for a flight on Daallo, complete with the chickens and lack of air conditioning. What matters is knowing you will arrive. When passengers showed up at Egal Airport on Thursday as scheduled, we all checked in our bags, received our boarding passes, and after waiting for some time were finally told that the flight would not be leaving today, but should hopefully leave tomorrow. When tomorrow came, nobody knew if the plane would leave or not and we were told not to go to the airport unless summoned, and that it may leave Saturday but the status was uncertain. With help from my dear Somaliland family and to make a long story short, the Air Ethiopia flight left eventually, more than a day later than expected. In the US, such a situation would leave everyone in an uproar, completely enraged and screaming and probably threatening to sue whoever would be willing to listen. But in Hargeisa, we all just went home and agreed to try again tomorrow. Nobody attempted to get a refund or even a free meal. I had brought some sambusa with me to the airport, expecting to have to wait, and in typical Somali fashion other passengers dug right in, sharing my food without even asking permission. One woman had tea, and we had a remarkably pleasant time waiting for the mystery flight. When the plane finally took off and successfully landed in Addis, the other passengers and I shared heart-felt goodbyes and exchanged email addresses.

Upon arriving in the States, one difference I noticed right way is the abundance of entertainment options that welcome you here. From movies to clubs to BBQs to sailing, I feel excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities of how to spend my free time. In Somaliland, I have to admit that social opportunities are lacking. Since there are no regular dance or music venues, no movie theatres or big sporting events, one of my favorite sources of entertainment (and I assure you I’m not alone on this one) was attending weddings, especially at Panorama. I learned about some great Somali wedding traditions, such as preparing dates that are wrapped in meat (muqmad) which the bride’s family offers the groom to open as a symbol concluding the wedding ceremony.

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One magical thing about being in Somaliland, at least for me, was the general and contagious sense that if basic needs were met, anything else was extra. When things did not work out as intended, you knew it would be okay and work out eventually, that you were just following the natural path of the world. And it didn’t matter anyway, as long as you and those around you were safe and healthy. This made things that might just be expected elsewhere, from tea to clean clothes to fruit juice to fresh water and good company, gain extra value so you really appreciated them. I have been trying to cling to this attitude despite my physical relocation, but I can feel it slipping away from me as I merge again with this fast-paced society. Just yesterday I was driving here in Boston and I went the wrong way. I could feel my blood pressure rising with frustration as I drove around aimlessly. Then I remembered Hargeisa, where driving around aimlessly was one of my favorite past times. Why does doing the very same thing seem suddenly so different?

As I write the last lines of my last article, having already left the country, I just want to extend a deep and sincere thanks to the many people who have helped make my stay as wonderful as it was. The hospitality extended to me was incredible, the attitude contagious, the experience priceless. I hope to return to Somaliland soon. I also send my encouragement to the people of Somaliland and all of Somalia. I hope that peace becomes your faithful friend, that the scheduled elections yield positive results, and that the country moves in a positive direction, whatever that may be. Ramadan Karim and thank you for reading.

Emily Huston


  1. Em,
    Looking forward to meeting you and hearing all your wonderfull stories about Somaliland. Maybe you can come with Ayan and I in 2012 for vacation to Somaliland. Once again thank you for reporting to us from the motherland for those of us that were not so lucky to visit tihs year nor had the pleasure of visiting at all.
    Thank you

  2. Good job Emily, I know the experience will make you see things from a new different angel and you will appreciate your life and family more, not that you didnt before.

    Its an eye opener definitely.

    It was pleasure reading your articles and thanks for sharing those photos and experience with us.


  3. Heey Em I was waiting for the final account of your stay in Somaliland, . Next time you visit I might even be living there.. talk to you soon…

    Somaliland misses you too, you were cool and level headed sweet person, professional yet friendly and understanding of situations such as the air flights. Issue other people might have struggled with, you have handled it well…. You were great gift to Somaliland as you are shedding light to may issue and in a great manner.

    Keep Somaliland in your heart

  4. Hi Emily, beautiful article, i am glad you enjoyed staying in somaliland and made few friends. I was there last year in August and people are so amazing and friendly.

    You are right country is on its way up and i think its good you have good experiences.

    I hope you have good time with your family and friends in USA.

    Remember you can always come back to somaliland anytime…..
    Rashid from West London.

  5. This was wonderful trip, and you experienced the joy in Somaliland. We hope to see you next time in Hargiesa, and Somaliland having different diplomatic status (Independent and recognized internationally)

  6. Somali's in general love good folk and thats why you will always be welcome. Same for goes for any good person in the world as long as they are good they are most welcome. Thank you for good comments about our country.

    Cheers 🙂

  7. Em,

    It has been nothing but a pleasure to read your comments and wonderful experience in Hargeisa. I had enjoyed it all of your articles and photos!
    Truly you are a Somalilander ! Viva to you and Somaliland!
    I hope you can make your resolution of this year to be more involved in helping family and friends and to craft a wonderful diversity of a society!
    I have to say you are proudly a courageous, a friend and one of most caring people I heard of.
    Thank you for your comments and welcome back to Boston.


  8. I can't forget how you use to say 'iska warama' every time you had raid that bus to your internship institution. You were such wonderful person, typicall extrovert. Many folks miss you emily.

    Wish you save came-back